I’m hesitant to share this story because I don’t have all the details. But over the years, it's become more than a story—what I learned in this conversation has become an integral part of the way I communicate.
The story begins a few years ago, in a Jazz Bar, when I bumped into two military analysts. I didn't know they were military analysts at the time, but these guys had an air about them. So I struck up a conversation [as you do] to see what I could learn.
As it turns out, they were conducting a study. Testing the impact of the last words spoken in a mission brief, as relates to the success of the mission. They'd performed thousands of tests spanning more than a decade.
Their findings indicated a summary sentence improved the success rate of a mission. No surprises there. But they went on to reveal a formula for creating a summary sentence. And this is the part where my ears perked up... The best performing summary sentence was in the form of a call-to-action, ending slightly abruptly, without a cordial closing note, not even "Good Luck."
[Think about it...] They're saying "The last words you say have the greatest impact on the outcome." You don't want those last words to be "Good Luck." You want the last words to be what you want them to do.
In summary, if the goal of your communication is to produce an outcome, summarize what you want them to do at the end; and resist the urge to include a cordial closing note like "Thanks for watching." Tell them what you want them to do, then stop talking!
Will is the Managing Director of jiveSYSTEMS and creator of the Digital Handshake™, a digital version of a time-proven tradition that turns tedious follow-up into a closing conversation. Will’s a hands-on guy, with a decade of experience enabling sales teams to leverage video. Will's an instant catalyst for positive change, once you get to know him, you’ll completely understand why.
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